When I first read the title for my position, “Recreation and Facilities Intern”, I was unsure what to expect, even the details of the position seemed to cover a wide range of opportunities and so far this has been mostly correct. My fellow intern, Austin Candela, posted a great blog last week which detailed our experiences so far and the two of us have been more or less working in tandem with each other since day one. The first week was a conglomeration of odd jobs and introductions which allowed us to get a sense of the area and people we will be working with throughout the course of this internship. Everyone we have met so far has been very genuine and quite eager to have extra help in an effort to gain some ground on various projects unique to their department. Of course, both Austin and I were thrilled to receive such a welcoming and to have the opportunity to experience such a wide range of potential careers within the Forest Service.
Doing some off-duty recreating at one of our worksites
A concern of mine from the beginning was that my carpentry, construction and plumbing skills would not be adequate enough for the nature of work that we would be performing. Luckily for me, my co-intern and my supervisor(s) have been more than patient and willing to teach me a great deal in a short amount of time about these trades. I have found this learning experience to be very rewarding so far and I find myself excited to continue developing these skills throughout the year. Most recently, we have been working on a seasonal Forest Service house in Ripplebrook which is located about a half hour South East of Estacada, a small timber community along the Clackamas River. During the past week and a half on this project I feel that I have gained some great experience and although the work is not always pretty (refer to Austin’s blog), the training is invaluable.
Austin (Left) and Mike discussing the next step in the project
In addition to facilities work, the great weather has allowed us the opportunity to work on trails and to see some truly beautiful places that are not usually accessible this time of year. Being new to the Pacific Northwest, I find myself in awe of the landscape and will sometimes miss a branch or two during our trail clearing operations because I am staring straight up at the massive cedars and Douglas firs or the vegetation cascading over the hillside. Not to mention the countless streams, mighty rivers and lakes that are unlike any I have seen before. My fiancé and my dogs have revisited these trails during our time off so that we could gain a greater appreciation of this natural beauty and we will certainly continue to do so.
Admiring the Timbers while collecting firewood in Ripplebrook
Olallie Lake and Mount Jefferson
I am very satisfied with the support of my supervisor, my colleagues and Forest Service personnel regarding their assistance and passion for the work they are doing. My goals were to gain experience in the carpentry, plumbing and construction trades, explore the career opportunities within the Forest Service and to also delve into the wilderness in an attempt to discover various campgrounds, trails and scenic places in my area. So far this internship has been a success on all counts.